For the first time in 30 years, the Sri Lanka Railways Department (SLRD) today received 10 container carrier wagons at the Colombo Harbour under an Indian loan scheme, The Transport Ministry said.
The SLRD also received five oil tanker wagons for the first time in 11 years.
It said the carrier wagons were imported to increase the number of wagons owned by the Railways Department and to streamline the country’s goods delivery by using trains.
The Ministry said it was expecting to import 20 more carrier wagons and 30 oil tanker wagons under the Indian loan scheme. Under the first phase, the first lot of the carrier wagons had been received to the Colombo port.
Each carrier wagon worth nearly Rs.15 million (USD 84,000) with the capacity of a forty-foot container.
"The carrier wagons were received at the Colombo Port by the cargo vessel 'MIIKE Panama’. Each Oil Tanker Wagon worth nearly Rs.15.2 million (USD 85,500) with the transport capacity of 45,000 litres (10,000 gallons). The recent oil tanker wagons were imported in 2008 from Pakistan," the Ministry said.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said with the importation of the carrier wagons there would be a considerable development in the transport industry in the next few months.
“Railway is not a profitable business but it is a public service. The Railway service should not be a burden to the country. The income received from the railway should be collected and it should be deployed for the development of the tracks,” Minister Ranatunga said.
The SLRD earns two per cent annual income from transporting goods and fuel, 22 per cent of income by transporting only fuel. The SLRD use 160 oil tanker wagons to transport fuel at present, the Minister added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)